Could "spaceship" = Full Windshield HUD?

Could "spaceship" = Full Windshield HUD?

We have all have knocked around why the MIA dash instrumentation and what the mystic "spaceship steering" and "feel like a spaceship" statements meant. We have also debated about Tesla supplementing the screen with a HUD. Also we all think (or me and most) of a HUD as offering a couple of basic metrics in a small patch on the windshield low and right in front of the driver.

What if Tesla is looking at doing a full windshield HUD display? This would definitely be a game changer and fall into the "spaceship" category. For instance the road could be mapped on the actual road and your next turning point would be highlighted on the actual road in front of you. No more looking down at your GPS to see turn 700' ahead and not sure if it is the next turn or the one right after that. Speed limit and other important signs could be highlighted and keep "in view" as you pass to give you time to read (who hasn't missed reading signs). Stoplights could be display lower on the windshield so you don't have to look up (some stop lights can be almost on top of your car) and squint if in the sun. It could do things like superimpose the speed of other cars around you and how far ahead a car is and the exact minimum safe distance to follow in a graphic. Maybe you could select what metrics to display depending on your wants and needs and have them displayed in locations (maybe transparency, colors and fonts too) on the windshield that is most convenient for you. You could have entertainment info displayed so the passenger could see too. I know it sounds a little 'spaceship' but there are companies that have demonstrated similar tech.

Could this be the missing pieces to the M3 interior puzzle? Is it too 'hubris'? Is it too 'spaceship' and likely too expensive? Have I had too much LSD?

jordanrichard | 19. April 2016

Nope, I guarantee to you that would be illegal. It is bad enough that sometimes the glare of the morning or evening sun makes it difficult to see, now add a HUD full of graphics/numbers.......

yongliangzhu68 | 19. April 2016

@ jordanrichard: Many cars now come with HUDs and you can also buy aftermarket (Garmin make one) so they are clearly not illegal.

dsvick | 19. April 2016

@wj - I thought something like that as well. It would be especially helpful at night, it could highlight deer and other animals on the side of the road before you even see them.

PhillyGal | 19. April 2016

Not gonna lie, this crossed my mind. But I truly believe it's too complex, too "hubris" since the success of the company depends on their ability to get this car built on time and ramp up production quickly.

Supraman | 19. April 2016

That sounds amazing! Whatever technology Tesla actually use in the Model 3 is going to be a let-down now. I hope it becomes an option, if not for the launch, then at least in the future.

Hi_Tech | 19. April 2016

I was thinking of something similar, but slightly smaller (not full windshield). But, agree with PhillyGal, I think it'd be a bit complex right now, and would most likely require Tesla to depend on a partner company for product, which has led to issues in the past.

dd.micsol | 19. April 2016

My concern would be a full window hud could be too distracting if no engineer correctly.

warren_tran | 19. April 2016

there is no way for a full window HUD. Too much complexity and not enough margin to implement on the lowest price point model.

jordanrichard | 19. April 2016

WJ, please point out the car that has a full windshield size HUD. I guarantee you there are regulations that limit the size of the HUD display. However you posed the idea of "doing a full windshield HUD display".

yongliangzhu68 | 19. April 2016

@ jordanrichard: A search reviles many companies are working on it. Here is a link to an article about GM research to use a full windshield HUD. I tried to search to find any regulations governing HUD implementation but came up empty.

"General Motors’ research in this field aims to create a full windshield HUD that will also actively assist the driver and not simply display a series of technical parameters and data....In GM’s next-generation head-up system, the whole windshield..."

Read more:"

diegoPasadena | 19. April 2016

It sounds very futuristic - and quite possible. How cool that would be! I'm convinced some or all of the features you mention might eventually make it to market. I doubt it will be in the Model 3, though.

I was thinking HUD as soon as I saw the prototype, but ever since Elon said that this was not the final steering wheel, I have been leaning toward a Formula 1-style steering wheel with all the necessary displays in the center of the wheel. This works, because, even though the orientation varies as you turn the wheel, only on rare occasions is it turned so much that you can't read it, e.g. when you're doing a U-turn or something of the kind. At those times, you're likely looking at something other than the speedometer anyway.

yongliangzhu68 | 19. April 2016

Also there is a video with a GM engineer demonstrating and he actually highlights uses that I also put in my OP.

yongliangzhu68 | 19. April 2016

@ warrant: As I noted in my OP I also believe cost could be prohibitive. However this one thing to keep in mind. There is no driver LCD display, gages or indicators. This is probably saves a couple $100 in costs that could go towards an enhanced HUD.

Another possibility is the base could come with a more basic system, like used in cars today and the enhanced could be an option. So you get 'mini' spaceship or option for 'full' spaceship.

mos6507 | 19. April 2016

I think as long as Musk is in charge he's going to push the envelope, hubris or no hubris.

topher | 19. April 2016

How much of that complexity is hardware? Elon has already figured out the concept of 'put the hardware in, update the software remotely later.' If they could put a HUD projector in the car on time and under(ish) budget, and all it did was show minimum required info, that would be enough to ship with (especially early models to friends and family). The eventual result could be truly game changing with no changes in hardware.

Thank you kindly.

yongliangzhu68 | 19. April 2016

mos6507 & gopher: A good example is Tesla putting auto pilot (radar, ultrasonic and cameras) sensors in all their cars, even months before it was even known.

Red Sage ca us | 19. April 2016

wj: What you describe here is right in line with my own thinking about HUD. I have felt all along that the reason why Tesla Motors hasn't offered the 'small patch on the windshield' that so many seem to expect on a 'luxury' car is precisely because they are indeed ubiquitous, but haven't really advanced much past what I saw on cars circa 1984 AD. I have said for quite some time that one of the strongest motivating factors for Tesla Motors is to offer things when they can bring forth a more fulfilling experience, instead of the same old, same old. Thus, an advanced, full screen, full color, real time animated holographic HUD experience would be right in line with what I'd expect from Tesla Motors... some day. It might not be available on the Model ☰ in the next 18-to-24 months, but I have no doubt it is coming.

yongliangzhu68 | 19. April 2016

Just add I do still fear the 'hubris' point. However it is probably a lot easer to implement an electronic system than it was the Falcon doors. With the Falcon Doors there were just too many moving parts (figuratively and literally).

Also we know that Tesla MUST offer something very unique, different and futuristic at event 2. Musk can't promise "spaceship" and just use it as hyperbole. After all he IS an actual 'real deal' 100% ROCKET scientist who builds spaceships. ;)

archvillain | 19. April 2016

I definitely don't want to go back to the days of not having a HUD, and I'd love "more" HUD.

Though I wouldn't mind if instead of full-screen HUD, it was half-screen, ie keeping the HUD on the road ahead (ie generally lower than the cars in front, leaving the top half clear) but otherwise widely spanning the windscreen in front. They'd have to be cautious and minimialist about putting graphics on the top half (on top of actual traffic) but maybe their tests will show that we drive better if the auto-pilot radar uses the HUD to draw attention to things that might be on a collision course, or some other function that proves more useful than problematic?

Ross1 | 19. April 2016

Human vision is limited to the spectrum of white light made up of ROYGBIV.
Some animals can see in the dark. Some can see infrared, others ultraviolet, some possibly both. Some things outside our abilities.
We cannot see Xrays, radar, out the back of our heads. And with the perspective vision we have, everything becomes smaller and smaller with distance to the point we cant see it at all.

So it would be nice if the machinery could communicate to us in real time the things which might affect us, without distracting us.
If that is HUD, holographs or something new, roll it out.

dachuyn | 19. April 2016

Spaceship experience == 3D experience...

Red Sage ca us | 19. April 2016

wj: I would expect that Tesla Motors will be most raked over the coals for having the 'hubris' to release ridiculously powerful 'mass market' electric cars at price points that no one in the world thought was possible, imaginable, or indeed, necessary. So, don't be too surprised if that 'under 6 seconds' to 60 MPH for the base Model ☰ turns out to actually be either under 5 seconds, or just barely over 5 seconds... Or when the base dual motor all wheel drive version drops the metric to either under 4 seconds, or just barely over 4 seconds... Or when the Performance version breaks the 3 second barrier... With LUDICROUS mode being just a hair over 2 seconds. All with absolutely none of them being within $20,000 of the $100,000 mark.

Remnant | 19. April 2016

@ wj (April 19, 2016)

<< What if Tesla is looking at doing a full windshield HUD display? >>

As of the 1st of May, when rearview cameras become mandatory, the priority might have to be for the dash to accommodate a 180 degree rearview camera display, stitched between the extant backup camera and the expected pair of side rearview cameras.

This display should include the formerly blind angles and center on the driver who wouldn't want to study the display for technical detail, but just glance at it from time to time for safety clues, as he/she used to do with the rearview mirrors.

It seems doubtful an HUD would qualify for such a display. It would contain too much overlapping imagery and too much polarized light to be safe, IMO.

jamilworm | 19. April 2016

I don't think anyone mentioned it yet, but a HUD involving image augmentation (overlaying stuff on top of what you are really seeing, like navigation lines on the road etc) would not be possible wth a windshield hud. The problem is that depeding on where your head is located, the HUD image will move around relative to the outside image. Imagine stainding at the window with a sharpie and tracing a tree outside. Then move your head an inch to one side and the outline won't match the tree anymore.

This type of augmented reality only really works if you are viewing the overlayed info and the actual scene on a shared screen or screens, like with VR goggles.

Wait, I think I just stumbled on the answer -, VR goggles required for M3! Make the world look like Tron!

casun | 19. April 2016

"The problem is that depeding on where your head is located"

it could easily display things on the windshield in relation to the distance of your eyes to the windshield. and by easily i mean i have no idea how that would work or if it is even possible wth current technology.

jamilworm | 19. April 2016

The technology does exist to track eye location and movement, but I am sure that is way to complex/unreliable/expensive to be implemented on the M3.

Red Sage ca us | 20. April 2016

A truly three-dimensional hard light hologram system would appear to have the correct perspective and tracking from any head position even without VR Goggles or Polarized Shades.

FREE ENERGY | 20. April 2016

Cool option, but to many distractions

adias.angel | 20. April 2016

Tesla did just hire Milan Kovac who was the principal engineer for the Skully AR-1 augment reality motorcycle helmet. I would put money on Tesla building from this experience to create a augmented reality HUD. The technology for AR isn't as far a reach as some people believe. Companies of all kinds are experimenting with AR to help sell product, increase productivity, streamline processes and a million other things.

jamilworm | 20. April 2016

Yes, all kinds of companies are coming a long way with AR, but 95% of those applications involve viewing the reality and the augmentation on the same screen, such as through your phone screen or through VR goggles. The other 4.5% display the augmentation on a HUD attached to your head, similar to google glass, so that your eye never changes position relative to the screen. Maybe a few companies are working on a hologram AR but I still think that would be too experimental/risky for the Model 3.

yongliangzhu68 | 21. April 2016

adias.angel: I was starting to doubt the plausibility of my post (still only entertain it as a possibility) but you don't hire experts in a field to NOT use their knowledge and skills. Also we do have around a full year before the system would need to be finalized and an extra year is a fair amount of time for electronics R&D. Especially with all the development/advancements going on in AR/VR tech world right now.

adias.angel | 21. April 2016

@wj: I have seen some amazing AR advances in the industry I am in which has nothing to do with technology....yet. A lot of the knowledge is there right now, I have seen stuff some we are working on that blows my mind with how little investment we needed to put in to create it and get it working.

PhillyGal | 21. April 2016

@topher - Excellent point about hardware. We got our car a full 10 months before the AP software (auto steer/lane change) was pushed.

dd.micsol | 21. April 2016

Since I already have glasses I wouldn't want driving goggles or a helmet (use special prescription cycling glasses (oakley frames). If that were a must-I'd ditch the car completely. I'm not driving a race car. I don't care about VR-It's all over the MIT campus and a lot of people hate it passionately. It's going to take decades to perfect it and make it comfortable. You can't see at all to your sides or behind you when you wear it. I have a very wide field of vision and the VR limited that dramatically to the point to where I look it off and never had the desire to put it back on. Also, if it fails you could be in an accident so fast you can't take the VR and react quick enough.
It's okay to dream though.
Now with Skelly technician working at Tesla-it's possible that the skelly data is to be hud on screen in an acceptable manner or can be customized or turned off completely.

Psyclo | 21. April 2016

Some of the videos of very old HUD demos show a small camera aimed at the driver to find the exact location of the eyes, and use that to make the overlay match where it is supposed to be. That's old hat stuff, so I expect head/eye tracking to be standard and cheap. No need for VR goggles or anything silly like that.
Having a full HUD windshield will be great, and actually easier to manufacture. A single set of cameras/projectors plus software to drive them verses all of the screens, dials, moving parts, plastic, covers, etc that normally go into the dash. A much simpler build, IMHO.
Another thought: Could the HUD be done with LCD tech built into the glass itself? I'm thinking of the stuff I've seen in "smart mirrors" and windows that shows augmented information. In that case, would an option be opaque, turning the windows off entirely? That would be great for privacy initially, and as autopilot becomes more secure, you don't care to see outside anyway. But putting that on all windows would be expensive, so maybe an option.

Drdpharris | 21. April 2016

And with full autopilot, streaming video to the windscreen.

yongliangzhu68 | 21. April 2016

mike.nicewarner, LCD requires wiring and is often called "screen door effect". Get close to you TV and you can see it. It would be very obvios in clear glass. The reason it can be used in mirrors is the wiring is behind the reflective layer so you can't see it.

Also an LCD panel that large would be several thousand $s, Projection is the only way to keep the costs within the realm of possibility. | 21. April 2016

A few questions:

1. What is a spaceship? The only vehicles that qualify that I am familiar with are fantasies found in science fiction stories?

2. What is a spaceship to Elon? He runs a company that routinely sends unmanned vehicles into earth orbit but has never sent anything into space. He obviously must be thinking if a fantasy vehicle since no real, manned vehicle space vehicle has existed since the days of lunar modules.

Maybe someday he will define what a spaceship means to him. Personally, I am delighted with driving the Model S. If the M≡ comes close to that, it will be OK in my book which is not science fiction,..

Red Sage ca us | 21. April 2016

There may be some shared footage between these videos, but they all present something different and more informative. They cover the General Motors Hy-Wire concept car. They show a unique driving system where the throttle control is built into the steering wheel. Unfortunately, Mollom will not allow me to post the links, but Google should get you to each of them just fine.

-- GM Hy-Wire automobile [Qow9r5yhhBo]
-- Video Auto Mond GM Hywire (Spanish) [SazWiHMIcXw]
-- Top Gear - General Motors Hy-Wire [hQHIWOurFz0]

Ross1 | 21. April 2016

When the bunny gets you with a link,
delete the dot and replace with DOT.
Very easy then both ways | 22. April 2016

@topher: Even better, you don't need to install added hardware on day one if you design a vehicle with future add-ones in mind. You just have to install any unique cabling and maybe plug-in slots for added controllers, fuse slots for added power supply lines and "hooks" for installing the future hardware, if needed. Then cars built in the past could be upgraded with the the added transducer/display hardware and software to run it.

@Remnant: Chevy claims the Bolt will be equipped with multiple cameras with images stitched together in a common display.

@Red Sage: You are one funny guy. :-)). | 22. April 2016

Is this the GM hy-wire link you are pointing to?

Red Sage ca us | 22. April 2016

President georgehawley: That's one of them, yes. Thank you.

carlgo2 | 22. April 2016

Forget projection schemes. OLED is available in transparent and flexible form. It could be laminated into the WS, or the other glass for that matter.

Then it gets available as a wrap. Think of the applications!

I believe this technology will be cheap as it will eventually be printed out.

yongliangzhu68 | 22. April 2016

carlgo2: OLED has been 3 years away from being printed 'cheaply' for almost 2 decades. As of now and for the foreseeable future OLED uses thermal evaporation printing. It is complex and expensive. LG is building a 2B$ 'giga' OLED plant in South Korea and is strongly rumored for iPhone production. Also LG (and I too) hope to bring the cost of OLED production down. However a 55" 1080 (no 4K) still sells for $2,000 and it is believed this may be at or below cost to LG.

While T-OLED (transparent) is about the same costs as traditional panels it is still well beyond what could be put in a $35,000 car. I would bet a T-OLED the size of a windshield would be well north of $10,000 OEM Tesla costs.

topher | 22. April 2016

@george: The trouble with that is that he is shipping *cars* all over the world. Recalling all of them to add something would be very expensive. Plus there is a question whether the car would be legal with NO display of speed other than on the 15" screen. It certainly wouldn't be complete in many people's opinion.

PaceyWhitter | 25. April 2016

Motor Trend has an article about what it would like for the upcoming Apple car. Ugly car, but it has a beautiful full screen AR windshield. That I would love.

brando | 28. April 2016

NOTE: When you have something like DOT com/word/more-stuff-written-here

You can simple search on the whole "mess" and Google seems to always find the right link.

Czech | 29. April 2016

I think it's very likely that the m3 will have a hud but another idea could be a round screen in the steering wheel that keeps the picture right side up regardless of the orientation of the wheel. i Think this would be easy every smart phone can do it why not a car

yongliangzhu68 | 29. April 2016

Czech, Airbag